The 2021 EDI Fellows went to Kiptopeke for their first summer adventure. Here is Keon Tavakoli, describing our first day.
We, the 2021 EDI fellows, met at Norfolk Academy, where the parents said their final goodbyes and, as all mothers must do, they took a few pictures.
The EDI Fellows, along with Dr. Vallery and Dr. Call, then adjourned to Mr. Barton’s art studio, where we discussed the meal plan for the week. Before driving across the bridge-tunnel, we stopped at Kroger to pick up the necessary food and supplies. We finally arrived at our lodge, a large cabin, in the state park at around 3:30pm. We proceeded to unpack and organize the food in kitchen until five o’clock, when Park Ranger Bill arrived at our lodge.
Bill Dyas a.k.a. Ranger Bill, Park Interpreter at Kiptopeke State Park, discussed the history of the park, including the many times of tension between African American and white citizens on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Ranger Bill finally revealed our project: a 2-ft planter for indigenous plants, to highlight native plants to the local population and symbolize the coming together of the community. After the discussion, we reflected for 30 minutes to an hour on planter designs and ideas. On the 30-minute bus ride to dinner, we continued to discuss our designs and formed two teams- Caitlin and Olivia and
Christopher, Charlie, AJ, and Keon – the classic boys vs. girls. Upon arriving at the restaurant, we placed our name on the waiting list and proceeded to wait an hour and a half before being seated. While we waited, we played cornhole and glimpsed three hog nose rays at the Shanty dock. The EDI Fellows, along with Drs. Vallery and Call, immediately placed our orders and had some sparkling conversations about our trip, leading to conversations about vacations, and the Leadership Lab, a prior school camping trip.
When we ultimately arrived at our cabin, we played a fun game brought by Dr. Call. Finally, after a long and tiring day, we fell asleep.